Conservators and Staff

Susan Blakney

Susan Blakney, CEO and Partner, Fellow AIC & IIC
Fellow of the AIC and the IIC with a long resume - see link below- Susan started her career in London in 1969 working for William Fraser Lowe and learning all aspects of conservation of old master paintings at his studio in Maida Vale. She returned to her native USA in 1975 and became the first full time professional painting conservator in the Syracuse and Finger Lakes area of Central New York State. [ Biography | Resume ]

Margaret Sutton, Partner, Senior Paintings Conservator
Margie has been working with her sister Susan since 1975 and has specialized in the lining of paintings. She is a master at tear repair and removing deformations of canvas paintings, murals, and auxiliary supports. Since studying with Gustav Berger in the early 1980's she has preferred Beva but is always willing to hear new ideas and study new adhesives. Although you will never see her inpainting it has been her hand that has structurally repaired and lined all of the paintings that have come through the lab since the late 1970's, giving her perhaps more experience in this field than any of the rest of us will ever have, and at a young age. If you have any technical questions about linings, supports, or adhesives please feel free to call.

Michael Farrell, Business Manager
After 12 years managing art galleries and perfecting a lot of other skills Michael joined West Lake Conservators in 1998. Things haven't been exactly the same since. Michael conducts and directs the business and will be the first and last person you will be in contact with after visiting us. He makes the paperwork seem fun and keeps the conservators in line when they start to stray. His managerial skills are sublime and we invite any one of our past or future customers to call and have a chat with him.

Chiara Kuhns, Painting Conservator
Chiara is an artist, an art historian, and a paintings and fresco conservator. She is a real advocate of the arts and believes in the importance of exposing, educating and preserving the primary sources of our world's history. Born in Florence, Italy, Chiara has taken advantage of the resources that this "mecca" of the art world has to offer. Florence has allowed her to receive a BA in Art History and complete a dual Masters degree in Museology and Conservation of Paintings and Frescoes. In 2002 Chiara taught a course on "The History and Art History of Florence" at Gonzaga University in Florence.
Chiara has been a part of many conservation teams in Florence, New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. In 1999 she joined the team at West Lake Conservators in Skaneateles. She has been a dynamic member of West Lake Conservators, helping conduct and organize workshops, being a liaison to our colleagues in Italy, and being our resident expert on Italian Renaissance and European paintings.


Shelley C. Andrade, Assistant Office Manager
Shelley joined West Lake in 2005 to help in all aspects of office management, customer service, and as paperwork assistant to the conservators who need help. Shelley is a native of Skaneateles, and has worked with art and jewelry for years in the Skaneateles area.




Kristy Jeffcoat, Paintings Conservator
Kristy Jeffcoat is an Associate Paintings Conservator, working for WLC since 2008. She received her Master's Degree in conservation from Queen's University in Ontario, Canada in 2002. Her training has taken her to Florence Italy, and Havana Cuba and she has interned at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL and the Denver Art Museum in Denver, CO. She has worked in both museum settings as well as private conservation labs with private clients, large and small museums, and art galleries.

Regina Middleton, Textile Technician
Regina is a lifelong fiber enthusiast. She loves all things fiber related and plays and creates in fiber whenever she can. Sewing quilting knitting weaving felting painting on silk, basketry, upholstery-this list lengthens with the years. Regina joined West Lake in 1994 as a consultant on a large textile project and has never lever. She expanded her job by taking on and mastering various skills around the lab, attending seminars and conferences and working with other conservators. She is a conservation technician specializing in the conservation mounting of textiles as well as frame conservation. Her formal background is in fine arts and fabric design. She is a graduate of Dean Junior College of Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC.

Luisa Cassella, Photograph Conservator
After training in photograph and paper conservation at the Instituto Politenico de Tomar in Portugal, she worked for eight years in a number of museums, archives, and cultural institutions in Portugal. In 2005 Luisa was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of the Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation at George Eastman House/Image Permanence Institute in Rochester New York. During this time she designed and implemented an online resource for photograph characterization and conservation, further development of which was awarded a National Leadership Grant for Museums from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In 2007 she achieved a Research Scholarship in Photograph Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Following this post, Luisa also worked as Photograph Conservator at Harry Ransom Center in the University of Texas at Austin. Relocating to the east coast, Luisa will be joining our staff in October 2013.

Eileen Sullivan, Paintings Conservator
Eileen Sullivan, Associate Paintings Conservator, is a graduate of the Conservation Program at Buffalo State College, where she earned a master's degree in Art Conservation in 2010. She also holds a masters degree in Art History from the University of Buffalo, and an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Syracuse University. Eileen has held internships with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Shelburne Museum. In 2010 she was awarded a Kress Fellowship at the Cleveland Museum of Art, for which she completed a year-long treatment of an Annunciation scene by the Renaissance artist Paolo Veronese. She joined the staff of West Lake Conservators in 2012.

Moya Dumville, Paper Conservator
Moya studied Art Conservation at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, specializing in paper objects. She has completed conservation internships at The Rooms Provincial Archives in St. John's, Newfoundland and the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts. She worked in Saint John, New Brunswick as the Post-Graduate Paper Conservation Intern on the New Brunswick Museum's Conservation Award-winning Miller Britain Mural Cartoons. This involved working in a public gallery space, interacting with museum patrons and carrying out treatment on a series of 9x9 foot chalk drawings on Kraft paper, created in 1941-42.